Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan your host of the daily challenges and today is Wednesday, so it’s the day we see how the bible’s take challenges and transforms our thinking about a topic.
This week we’ve been talking about compassion and service to others and how following Jesus resets our view of that. We saw yesterday how Jesus resets our view of compassion as a risky thing that involves people who we consider to be risks and instead seems them as opportunities to serve Jesus.
Opportunities to instead do our job by helping and serving others. That it’s simply part of whom we are meant to be as followers of Jesus. It’s not something we do to earn an award, it’s not something we do to avoid punishment, it’s something we do to love and serve Jesus.
Of course loving and service Jesus has its rewards, and its risks when we avoid them. The primary thing is following Jesus and one of the many aspects of that is that that leads us to serve and bless others.
The bible talks about many other reasons to serve and care for others. It talks about them in a number of dimensions with a number of different words but the one word that I think comes out most is love. The reason to serve others is because they are loved by God.
If we’re trying to truly know and follow him then they’re our people to love as well. Here’s how Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, described the connection between serving others and love.
“If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Maybe you’ve heard that at weddings before but that’s really not the point. The point Paul was trying to make was that his faith what it means to follow Jesus isn’t just a mechanistic thing where we have to do certain things and not do others.
Sell all your possessions and follow Him. That’s part of it but it’s not a mechanistic thing where if “A” then “B.” It’s meant to be under grouped by love. If we’re going to sell everything and feed others with it that has to come from a place of love for Jesus. Love for Jesus is people that He loves. Rather than us trying to gain something for ourselves.
This is like what we talked about on Monday. That we can follow Jesus, we can serve others for all the wrong reasons if we’re trying to do it for selfish gain. Compassion has to be self-less. Self-giving sacrifice.
There are some other reasons the bible says we can care for others and one is for unity within the Christian family. We’ve talked a lot in our daily challenges about the church becoming like family and it’s important to see that there’s an obligation to look after members of our family.
Here’s how Paul put it in his letter to the Corinthians. “There should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored all the members rejoice with it.”
Showing compassion and care for others within the Christian family is part of us showing our unity as a family. That this unity we speak of isn’t just a theoretical or a nice, theological idea, but it’s something that actually has legs.
The bible also talks about us showing compassion because of God’s compassion. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
That came from Paul’s letter to the Collisions where he was reflecting on how we have been so loved that we can show love to others. That we can clothe ourselves in some ways in God’s clothes. We want to look more and more like God by showing compassion like compassion was shown to us.
By showing kindness like compassion and kindness was shown to us. We can see all these characteristics we’re meant to show to others are simply characteristics that God has shown to us. We are reflecting God’s glory into the world. God’s love and compassion into the world when we engage in compassionate service ourselves.
We’re also called to show compassion and service because it’s God’s law. Because it’s commanded to us. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he said: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
When Christ was asked about the law he distilled it down to its two main points; love God and love neighbor, and you can see how compassionate loving service to our neighbor fulfills God’s law.
We can also see in the bible how we’re to serve and care for others not to gain karma for ourselves but rather because we can identify in others something of ourselves.
We can see serving others is how we would want to be served. Here’s what Jesus said in the Book of Matthew. “So whatever you wish that others would do, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.”
Jesus was again summarizing the importance of loving neighbor as a distillation of the law and the prophets. He was also making a very important connection. That we don’t serve others in order to be served ourselves.
We’re not trying to gain some reward. We’re not expecting what goes around comes around like karma would say but rather out of grace we have been loved by God and so we can show love to others.
God has given us mercy and through his grace and so we can show mercy to others and care for their very real needs in this world.
Finally we can see that we are sent out into the world to show compassion. Followers of Jesus are not meant to stay cloistered together as an inward-looking institution. Rather we’re meant to be outward-looking, outward-serving. Caring for others in the world around us. You can see this in how Jesus sent out his followers into what he called the harassed.
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus was speaking to his disciples, those who would follow Him and essentially telling them it was now their job to do this work in this world. To be their harvesters. Be his laborers. Following Jesus makes compassionate service to others our job like we’ve been talking about all week.
Tomorrow we’re going to try to put this into action in our lives but in the meantime I’ve got a question for you to think about.
Question: What pattern do you see emerging in all of these passages from the bible, that we’ve read? What ties them all together?
Don’t do this alone it’s something great to discuss with a group. Find a group of people you can do our daily challenges with where you watch the videos together or whenever you have the opportunity, and when you meet together you can discuss what you’ve been learning, how it’s challenging you and how you’re finding joy in life.
Have a great one. I’ll see you tomorrow.